Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., pressed regulators and the Federal Reserve on Thursday to tell her how the government shutdown is affecting their ability to police the economy and markets.
Warren told Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in her letters that she’s worried about how the longest shutdown in U.S. history, now in its 34th day, is affecting regulators’ ability to do their jobs, and queried how they’d proceed in light of reports that a recession looms if the shutdown continues.
“As the shutdown continues and the economy is destabilized, your agencies’ roles will become even more important,” Warren wrote. “It is important that I fully understand the difficulties facing your agencies and the implications of a prolonged government shutdown.”
The SEC and CFTC, Warren noted, have been operating with limited staff since late December. Meanwhile, the Fed, which is not subject to congressional appropriations, has not been receiving “crucial” reports, including updated GDP growth numbers from the Commerce Department due to the shutdown.
Warren noted the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday and cited Powell’s reported concern over the impact of a lack of data on the Fed’s ability to make economic decisions.
Citing reports, Warren pointed the shutdown’s impact on the SEC, noting that “virtually all SEC activities have ceased or decreased significantly,” with enforcement actions slowing “to a trickle” and the agency’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations unable to travel to firms for onsite visits.
Warren requested that Clayton and Giancarlo answer her questions by Feb. 2, and that Powell respond by Jan. 28, prior to the next FOMC meeting.